- Students’ Column
- War and Military
We are living in politically turbulent times. The world seems to be shifting and people are digging in their trenches and getting ready to do battle against ideological opponents. Hacktivism, social media squabbles, intrusive labelling on political friends and enemies are becoming more common. All the while, we’re losing the community spirit thanks to these divides that don’t have to be as divisive as we make them seem. The next time you start despairing about the spiritual conflicts on the country, think about what you can do to help, starting with your very own community.
A good place to start is by looking at the very physical environment of that community. If you fear about potential cuts to the EPA, then become your own environment’s protector. Join community efforts, or start them, to clean up your local parks. Look at guides like the EPA for Citizen Action to see what you can do not just in your own microcosm, but with the programs that exist in hundreds of communities across the country.
Paying attention to the shift of politics and ideologies can feel isolating. But those who are truly isolated are going through something entirely different. They lack human contact and with that comes a whole slew of mental and emotional anguishes. Just as nurses are needed in healthcare, so are people who can simply spend time with those who have no-one. In particular, the elderly are vulnerable to isolation as well as the depression, stress, and risks of mental degradation that come with that. But there will be outreach programs in your area that can help you lend your time and company to those without.
Volunteering your time to positive social elements in any way is a great step to take. But if you want to be there on the front lines, think about joining volunteer emergency services in your area. Besides the fun of getting to handle a hose and turning on the warning lights, you can help by dealing with real crises. Volunteer firefighters, emergency response teams, search and rescue are important parts of how a community can keep one another safe.
Don’t be one of those people who talks about the social injustices of the world around them while ignoring the inequalities and injustices just a walk down the street. Embarrassment and wariness can form barriers that stop us from helping one another. Knock those barriers down and talk to people in your neighborhood. Volunteer your time, your spare goods, even money to help families in need get back on their feet. Sites like Help Neighbors are a great way to learn more about the impact that one good person can make in a neighborhood.
It’s important to get in touch with the people around us, the people who could depend on us if we were to be dependable. It helps you find that thread of humanity we all share and feel good about making a difference, not like you’re fighting an ideological war.